INDEPENDENT NEWS

50 Tonnes The Real Issue With Truck Proposal

Published: Wed 29 Aug 2001 04:32 PM
All New Zealanders should be concerned and making submissions against a proposal by Transit New Zealand that at the least would see 50 tonne trucks on every road in the country.
That’s the warning from Tranz Rail General Manager of Rail Services Noel Coom who believes many regional communities are not aware of the implications if any of the proposals on larger trucks get the go ahead.
A paper by Transit NZ puts up two scenarios; one that would allow 62 tonne trucks on dedicated highways while the second plan is to have 50 tonne trucks on all roads throughout New Zealand.
Mr Coom believes the Road Transport Forum and others pushing for the 62 tonne proposal have known all along that this idea would never gain support.
“They are using it as a smokescreen so they can come out the good guys when they appear to accept the compromise of 50 tonnes when that is what they have wanted all along.
“It is a ridiculous state of affairs when you think that in America the limit is 38 tonne and that’s on divided highways yet here they are talking about allowing extra tonnage on dual carriageways. This is something that should scare every motorist.
“Even on our main highways there are a number of bends where already trucks struggle to get around without crossing the centre line. With the focus on getting the road toll down, it would make no sense to allow bigger trucks of any size onto New Zealand roads.
“I have no doubt also that the public do not want to pay for the extra cost incurred by the damage that heavier trucks would cause to our roads and bridge structures.
“There are suggestions that larger trucks would mean fewer trucks but this carries no logic. Overseas experience proves that in fact the national fleet increases in size. There are now over 70,000 trucks on New Zealand roads, an increase of 10,000 just in the last two years and there is no indication this is slowing down.
“Rail offers by far the most energy efficient way of moving freight and more importantly for communities it keeps large loads off their roads. New Zealand already has a first class facility in place to deliver freight the length of the country. It is called the main trunkline, which forms the backbone of New Zealand transport.

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